Starting Teams from the Outside

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Starting Teams from the Outside

Post by Cheynem » Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:06 pm

I'm currently living in West Michigan, which has a number of high schools without a quizbowl team. I would like to see teams formed at these schools, but obviously not being a student or a teacher or a parent, it is a bit hard. I was wondering what advice people might have about the feasibility of helping to start a team as an outsider. With an existing team, however inactive, you at least have a contact person or student you can work with to promote tournaments or question sets. Besides direct mail things, are there other strategies? I was contemplating something along the lines of high school assemblies where they listen to a motivational speaker or what have you except demonstrating quizbowl--perhaps spinning it into a student vs. faculty game and then giving a quick spiel about how quizbowl helps you learn things and makes you better prepared for college, which may start the ball rolling (I have no idea why any high school would approve of such an assembly, though, although far less important things are let into schools all the time).

Any thoughts?
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

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Re: Starting Teams from the Outside

Post by Progcon » Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:40 pm

Have you gotten in contact with students at Western Michigan, Grand Valley, or Kalamazoo College? I'm sure there are former quizbowlers at all those places because hundreds of students come to our tournaments each year and not all of them attend MSU and U-M. I think these former high school quizbowlers could help you reach out to their former high schools. From there, perhaps they can help you do outreach through their local athletic leagues to teams that don't have established teams.

I'm not super familiar with Western Michigan, but on the East side of the state, a lot of local quizbowl leagues correspond to the local athletic conference. You could contact one of these athletic conferences for a metropolitan area such as Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, or Berrien County/St. Joe/Niles/Benton Harbor and ask about setting up a league that runs VHSL (or some other pyramidal) questions. I think going school-by-school would be more difficult than setting up some infrastructure with a local league. With the league established, you could easily disseminate fliers and information about tournaments at MSU, U-M, or elsewhere.

I think the West side of Michigan can really expand as far as good quizbowl goes, and it's awesome that you are looking to improve the circuit.
Harris Bunker
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Michigan State University '19 B.S. in Economics & B.A. in Mathematics
UC San Diego Economics 2019 -

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Re: Starting Teams from the Outside

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:02 pm

There are two tournaments in Western Michigan using NAQT questions in the next few months, one in White Cloud and the other in Berrien Springs. I think the White Cloud tournament has been in existence for decades. Also, the team from Holland has come to the New Trier Tournament once or twice. There are tournaments at MSU, which is close enough to Western Michigan. I would start with existing teams and tournaments and see if you can help them reach out more. If you can get in contact with the leagues that exist, you can talk to them about improving formats and questions, and encourage the teams to attend tournaments.
David Reinstein
Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

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Re: Starting Teams from the Outside

Post by dhumphreys17 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:58 pm

Echoing Mr. Reinstein's sentiments with regard to MSU being close enough to western Michigan, you might want to check WKAR's QuizBusters for active teams in Western Michigan. That TV tournament features 64 teams from the WKAR viewing area, and attracts teams mostly from the southwest portion of the state. I've done the same thing with Quiz Central to attempt to get some teams to look at the mainstream. My only success has been T.C. Central so far, but I'm hoping to do more with the newly founded MQBA this year to attract teams from the Central Michigan area. But I digress. My point is that TV tournaments attract teams that don't do anything else, but some only play for one game a season. That is a bunch of untapped potential that should be looked into.

EDIT: I concur with Mr. Bunker with regard to the league-to-conference correlation. In central Michigan both the Mid-State Activities Conference (my conference) and the Mid-Michigan Academic League have quiz bowl programs that have been running for many a year, and I would bet some leagues in the western Michigan area already do as well. The problem is that some of those leagues (MSAC included) run on non-pyramidal questions, and many of those teams are led by faculty who don't necessarily wish to extend their season or put in additional commitment to the activity. Therefore, Mr. Bunker is completely correct in saying that athletic conferences which do not run quizbowl are the best way to recruit to the circuit, and if you can get institutional support for a switch to or an initialization of pyramidal questions in league tournaments, then the better teams will eventually find the mainstream without too much help. We failed to get the MSAC to switch to pyramidal questions this year; organizers wanted a lightning round that NAQT couldn't provide due to Quiz Central. However, in leagues that don't necessarily have anti-pyramidal tendencies, this tactic may be more effective.
Devin James John Bartholomew Humphreys
Team Captain, Sacred Heart Academy High School (MI), Class of 2017
Michigan State University, anticipated Class of 2020

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